USA coach Bob Bradley has admitted Scot Sir Alex Ferguson has helped plot England’s downfall at the World Cup.
Manchester United boss Ferguson has become the secret inspiration behind the Yanks campaign in South Africa.
Bradley has modelled the ethos of his USA training camp and team spirit on the “down to earth, grounded” example that he witnessed first hand during several visits to Manchester as Fergie passed on tips to Bradley and entertained him at United’s Carrington base.
Saturday’s clash in Rustenburg was billed as “the biggest game in US history” by the President of the US Soccer Federation Sunil Gulati yesterday – with future of the sport in America and their 2022 World Cup bid both needing the boost of a win.
Bradley has also had support from Everton boss David Moyes this season, and admits that Capello himself helped get him on the managerial ladder a decade ago when he visited him at AC Milan.
He said: “I have had a number of really good opportunities to watch Manchester United train, to watch them play, and to spend some time with Sir Alex. He is inspirational – everything that goes on in that club, you can see his personality in it.
“Some managers have been great in terms of being open. They know all about soccer in the US and know about our results. I have been lucky to get to particular clubs and I appreciate all of them.
“I saw there are different ways to be successful. When you spend time with the Premier League managers you appreciate the willingness to talk about the workings of the club. The times I have been at Man U you realise Sir Alex sets the tone in a down to earth way. Sit in the cafe and you see Giggs, Scholes, players from the reserves and you see their interaction and the way it should be done. It is a big club but there is a down to earth, realness, and grounded quality to it.
“I have done seminars with him and been to United on several occasion to see him. I will go down there and watch them train and spend an hour in his office talking. You pick up different things from someone like Sir Alex and it helps you in your own philosophy. He has such energy, if you have the chance to speak to him he is really bright and funny.
“He asked me if I knew Princeton University where I coached was founded by a Scot. You look on his bookshelf and see books about American presidents – you find a really interesting guy. When you have a chance to watch people like that and speak to them a little bit it is special.
“If you can built not only a system of playing and a professionalism, but also a family environment where everyone feels part of it, that’s huge. That is what I learned there.”
USA star man Landon Donovan says he former boss at Everton David Moyes will be cheering for the USA. He added: “After learning how the English and Scottish are he will be rooting for us.”
Bradley’s clash with Fabio Capello will not be their first meeting. As coach at Princeton University, Bradley took his team to Milan when Capello was the all-conquering Serie A winning manager.
The pair met and Bradley recalls: “Capello’s quote to me was along lines of when you make wine the grapes are not always the same! At first I thought he meant about wine! Then I realise he was giving me advice about football and players!
“When you come up against teams that are managed by people like Fabio Capello you know they’ll be well prepared, tactically and mentally right. He sets a good tone with his team and how they play and go about their business. Look at their qualifying campaign. It was exceptional.”
Bradley has promised England and Wayne Rooney a “good hard game” and insisted his side won’t be using underhand tactics to wind the striker up.
He added: “Rooney? I have tremendous respect for him as a player. I understanding what he brings, his effort, his competitiveness, his movement. His influence on that team is great. We have to compete at that level. We don’t enter into all that. It will be a good hard game.”
Striker Jozy Altidore is back in full training after his twisted ankle and is fit to play against England.